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Datsyuk: 'Something's missing'

by Dana Wakiji / Detroit Red Wings
Pavel Datsyuk's shot broke the glass during Monday's morning skate. (Dana Wakiji/Detroit Red Wings)

DETROIT -- Pavel Datsyuk feels good physically but yet he says something is missing.

Datsyuk has played in 15 games since returning from offseason surgery to repair ruptured tendons in his right ankle.

In general, Datsyuk has been nearly a point-a-game player for his entire career except his rookie season of 2001-02 when he had 35 points in 70 games.

This season Datsyuk has two goals and five assists in 15 games.

"I feel good now," Datsyuk said. "It’s more … beginning it’s a little bit tougher, everybody fast. Now it’s just keeping pace with everybody, but it’s still miss something."

Asked what it was he felt he was missing, Datsyuk couldn't provide anything specific.

"I need to find it," Datsyuk said. "I’m not find it. Something missing."

Wings coach Jeff Blashill has not found anything lacking in Datsyuk's game.

"I think Pavel’s been playing really well," Blashill said. "He’s created lots of chances for both himself and that line. Richie’s had tons of shots on net. I think Pavel’s doing a great job. I think he’ll continue to point more as he continues with the good possess that he’s had."

Blashill has Datsyuk playing with Brad Richards and Darren Helm.

"They have everything," Datsyuk said. "Brad make plays. Helm has speed. I’m between. I know what I need, choose one side."

Datsyuk is 37 and has had some injury issues the last few seasons.

Blashill does not think age is catching up to Datsyuk.

"Honestly, I don’t see it at all," Blashill said. "I was here four years ago, he looks every bit as good as he was four years ago. He might not feel that. You’ll have to ask him. But I think he looks every bit, every bit as good as he was four years ago."

Datsyuk expects a lot of himself and wants to shoot and pass more.

"I need more handle the puck, too," he said. "More win battles."

Datsyuk is not the biggest guy but his shot is deceptively hard.

In Monday's morning skate, Datsyuk's shot took a half-moon chunk of glass out behind the net near the Zamboni entrance.

"I hope I’m not paying for this glass," Datsyuk joked.

Blashill was not surprised by the broken glass.

"I think his shot is way more deceptive than maybe what it looks at times," Blashill said. "He’s got an unbelievably quick release once he decides to release the puck. And it’s harder than it looks for sure."

GREEN'S 600TH: Defenseman Mike Green is in his first season with the Wings but he's about to hit a big milestone tonight -- his 600th career game.

"You always hope that you can accomplish that," Green said. "I think we all just hope to play one game so I'm definitely honored and privileged here to able to play tonight in my 600th."

Green has one goal and seven assists in his last 13 games, in which the Wings have gotten at least one point in every game.

"I think we've got to stick with it," Green said. "I think no matter what it's hard to win in this league each night. We've done a good job go getting points each night but we got to find a way to get that extra point, whether it's a late goal in a period that we can hang onto. I thought we've done a good job of competing for sure."

GRIFFINS STREAKING TOO: The Grand Rapids Griffins, the Wings' AHL affiliate, are on a streak of their own -- 11 straight victories.

The 11 straight wins tie a franchise record set during the 2005-06 season under coach Greg Ireland.

"I saw the highlights from last night’s game and I was pumped for them," Blashill said. "Todd Nelson has obviously done a great job of righting that ... they had a tough start and he’s stayed evenkeeled, he’s stuck with the plan and the players have obviously worked themselves to where they’re playing great."

The Griffins overcame a three-goal deficit and won when Xavier Ouellet scored with 2:27 remaining in overtime.

Ouellet is one of the Griffins who has spent time with the Wings.

Blashill sees the Griffins' success from an organizational standpoint as well.

"I think it’s great for us," Blashill said. "It speaks to the level of the prospects that we continue to have in the system. The game last night, I watched the highlights, it looked real exciting so it also speaks to the character to the group down there. One thing that I think that’s been fostered down there is there’s a real similar culture in the locker room to here, and I think that’s been a big reason why a number of these prospects have come up here and had success, and that’s why they’re on this type of 10-game win streak."

OVERTIME: If any team knows about playing the 3-on-3 overtime, it's the Wings.

Ten of their last 13 games have gone to overtime and 13 of 30 games overall have needed extra time.

The Wings are 7-6 in overtime.

No other team has played as many overtime games. The next closest team is the Philadelphia Flyers, who have played 12 overtime games.

The Calgary Flames have played in 10 overtime games and have won eight of them, one more than the Wings.

"From beginning of the season it was more offensive, lots of breakaways, two-on-ones," goaltender Petr Mrazek said. "You can still see it today but I think teams have found a way how to play it, be smarter, but still chances are the same, expectations are the same from what I had in GR last year."

Green agrees that there has been some adjustment in how teams are playing with so much open ice.

"I've seen a stat maybe about a month ago how at the start of the season it was maybe 66 percent of the games were ended in 3-on-3," Green said. "As the year’s gone on, it’s down to like 54 percent. You’re seeing how teams are sort of figuring out structurally how to play the game. It’s definitely not easy, that’s for sure. It takes a lot of commitment to sort of visualize where guys are going and whatnot. It’s definitely a different game than the 5-on-5."

Blashill said he does not necessarily see teams figuring out how to play 3-on-3 more effectively.

"I think it comes down to No. 1, who you put on the ice," Blashill said. "If you put offensive players on the ice they’re gonna try to score, and if they try to score and they don’t they’re gonna give up opportunities and it’s gonna be pretty exciting. And if you put defensively players on the ice they’re gonna try first to make sure that you don’t score and it’s gonna be a little bit not as exciting I’d say. So we go with the offensive approach, we try to score, we try to win the hockey game."

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